WOO HOO! So I just finished my village stay and will be living in Gaborone for 4 days until I leave for a town called Molepolole. The village stay was AWESOME. After I got over the LOOOOONG 4 hour Setswana lessons everyday I started to enjoy myself even more. The second week in the village I went to a wedding, and as visitors to the village we got to sit under the family awning and were served food first. We felt really spoiled and kind of odd sitting there on display but the whole thing was fun. The next weekend I attended a funeral which was kind of depressing. Four people had died in that week alone but I only attended the funeral of a 35 year old woman. The songs were beautiful and after the burial all of the people ate and celebrated. I stuck out like a sore thumb with my bright white shirt, my bright blue skirt, and my blond blond hair. It was interesting to start the week with a traditional wedding and ending it with a traditional funeral.
All of the people in the village are super nice, and everyone is related to everyone else. There is one crazy guy that we call Cart-Man who chops down trees and carries them around in a wheelbarrow. He always seems to find me and babble away in a mix of english and setswana. Nobody knows what he is saying, not even the people in the village, and they just let him by, cutting down trees and carting around wood. Another person who I have come to like talking with is this old woman called Mmapula. She wears these hilarious plastic sunglasses that cover most of her shriveled face. She speaks very good english and she will babble away for hours if you let her.
In the afternoons and on the weekends my friends and I climb the hills around the village. We drink beer and apples and watch the African sunset, laughing and talking until the sun goes down. Then we tumble down the hills in the dark. Last Friday we climbed to a water tower on the top of a hill and found some construction workers at the base. They said we could climb it so we climbed to the top and watched the sunset. It was spectacular.
One night was Bryce’s birthday and his family invited us over to his house to celebrate. They bought cake and cookies and served us all dinner. Then we all gathered in a room and ate together, half of us sitting on the floor, the other half crammed onto the few pieces of furniture. There were about 30 people sitting in this cement room under a bare lightbulb, and as soon as the food was served all the noise died down and all you could hear was the sound of forks hitting tin plates. There were kids everywhere, including the 2 year old who went back and forth between my lap and Linnea’s, cake smeared ALL over his face. It was probably the best birthday party I have ever been to.
This past weekend we went to a post-wedding party. We served all the adults and then sat in the dirt eating our heaping plates of food and talking about our time in the village. We drank traditional brew, called bojalwa, which tastes like sour milk mixed with stale feet and rancid wheat. Not good. I’m starting to get used to the food here and really enjoy all of the dishes except dry morogo and liver. Anyway, the party was great and I was speaking Setswana with everyone. I am finally starting to get the sense of humor here. I also recognized a lot of faces. Linnea and I got hit on by a bunch of guys and we had to pretend we were engaged to get one drunk guy to stop following us. All in all, a really fun day.
Today I left my family and came to Gaborone. We have 4 days of orientation and then we are off to the Big Motse. Today we went to the mall and ate at this nice restaurant where everyone was white. We felt oddly out of place, yet… it is kind of hard to describe. After eating palache and liver for the past month, sitting with stuffy europeans eating brie didn’t feel normal. Then we left to go shopping and I bought alcohol legally for the first time ever, which was AWESOME. It is going to be a bummer coming back to the US and having to wait another year to be legal.
Well, I have to go! Love you all, hope to be able to email you all soon!